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by Mike Hall, Jul 21, 2011

Washington politicians who want to cut Social Security while they reduce the deficit should give an eye to this recent Snapshot from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). They’ll find there’s no fat to cut.

The average annual Social Security retirement benefit in 2009 was $13,406.40, slightly above the $10,289 federal poverty line for individuals 65 and older but less than the minimum wage.

That modest Social Security payment makes up a substantial share of income in most senior households. In the poorest 40 percent of 65-and-older households, Social Security payouts constitute more than 80 percent of total income. But even middle-income households count on Social Security. It provides the majority of income for more than 60 percent of senior households.

The latest proposal for cutting Social Security would slash an average retiree’s benefits by $6,000 over 15 years by changing the formula for calculating cost-of-living adjustments.

You make the call. What makes more sense: Asking seniors to bear the burden of cuts or asking millionaires to pitch in more? The latter, say congressional Republicans—somehow with a straight face—would be tantamount to economic disaster.  What do you think?

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